Search Blog

Sumati Gupta, PhD

Dr. Gupta is a licensed psychologist and professor at Barnard College, Columbia University. She specializes in the treatment of anxiety and eating/weight issues at Tribeca Psychology in NYC

Top Eating Disorders Treatment Information


Binge eating after age 65

We tend to associate eating disorders with teenagers and young adults despite research showing that people often experience different types of eating disorders at different points in their life. In the last few years, there has been increasing awareness of how anorexia and bulimia affect older adults, but very little attention to binge eating among this group. A new study released online this week is the first to examine binge eating among the elderly.

The study, to be published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, examined a small group of people 65-years and older who all met criteria for Binge Eating Disorder. The participants were 20 adults, ages 65-77 years-old, who were mostly white women (though we know binge eating affects men and other races at high rates).

The elderly, like younger people with binge eating, described having weight problems even before they started binge eating regularly. Most of the elderly (65%) said they had tried over 5 diets in their lifetime (read more about how dieting relates to binge eating). When asked for reasons why they binge eat, the most common ones given were boredom (80%), habit (75%), and lack of willpower (75%).

Depression was also common among the elderly adults in this study, at a rate similar to younger adults who binge eat. The researchers note that this was surprising given that elderly people tend to experience less depression than younger adults.

Are you an older adult who can relate to the people in this study or do you have family members with similar patterns? Physicians and family members may not think to ask the elderly about possible binge eating, especially given that it’s a behavior often done in secret. Talking about the issue can be an important step towards healthier eating.


Have comments or questions? Discuss them on the facebook page or contact Dr. Gupta directly

Dr. Gupta is a professor at Barnard College of Columbia University and provides individual therapy at Tribeca Psychology

Stay up to date on the latest research: Follow the blog on twitter, like on facebook, or subscribe.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Using text messages as part of treatment for bulimia and binge eating | Main | Cognitive behavioral therapy reduces binge eating in teens and adults »